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PowerPoint Tables have been given a major revision with this release of Office. We have put a great deal of work into Tables this release in order to combat many of the pain points users had in the past when working with PowerPoint Tables. To show off how things have changed for the better and the new features of PowerPoint Tables, let’s take a look at the updated ‘Insert Table’
In the above image we see that the drag enabled insert table UI has been expanded considerably from the default size in previous versions. Speaking of default sizes for PowerPoint tables, we have done a great deal of work in the area of performance in order to greatly increase the workable table size. In previous versions of PowerPoint, the UI allowed the insertion of a table with a maximum of 25 rows and columns. In this release, we have increased that maximum to 75x75 within the UI. We were able to do this because we made the decision to move away from the metaphor of a table simply being a group of shapes, as it was in previous versions. This has been one of the largest enabling factors in our performance gains, and as a result, tables are workable at sizes much greater than that of 25x25. A tradeoff made in order to obtain these gains in performance was the ability to “ungroup” a table. While this tradeoff means that there are a set of scenarios no longer present, specifically the ability to ungroup a table to animate individual pieces, we feel that the performance gains (not to mention all the other aspects talked about in this section of the blog) along with the ability to use multiple tables and/or shapes in these scenarios will benefit users in a much greater way.
After the user inserts a new table into PowerPoint we instantly see one of the most noticeable changes in tables. The table, after insert, is a reasonable size, independent upon the number of rows you have in the table. We no longer maximize the table height to fit a set area but are now only concerned with fitting the width. The table inserted on the slide can be seen in the following image (with text added after the fact):
You might notice one more thing about the table. It is styled by default after insertion. Table styles will be discussed shortly in detail, but for the time being, in this example we have enabled special formatting for the header row and for banded rows.
But My Tables Aren’t In PowerPoint!
One of the other major pain points in working with tables in PowerPoint was the experience of actually moving your tabular data from outside of PowerPoint into PowerPoint. The experiences in the past with being able to move a table from Excel to PowerPoint, for example, have proven to be problematic for users and in many cases the user would resort to pasting the table in PowerPoint as an image, rather than as an actual table. Cross-app interoperability of tables between Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, specifically copying tables directly into PowerPoint, has been a top priority for this release. Information will come into PowerPoint just as it was in the host application when one copies a table from Excel to PowerPoint, or Word to PowerPoint, as can be seen in the following image:
Gone are the days of pasting a table into PowerPoint as an image (unless you really want to of course)! With the table now in PowerPoint, one of the most common tasks is to resize the table to better fit the dimensions of the slide and other objects on the slide. To better maintain the proportions of the table (along with font size) we allow proportional resizes to be made by shift-dragging from the bottom right corner of the table. This not only resizes the table proportionally, but also adjusts the font size so the entire table maintains proportions.
Once a table gets into PowerPoint, there are many formatting options available to the user. The goal was to base a lot of the interactions with PowerPoint tables on the Word model of interacting with a table. As one can see, the UI for both Word and PowerPoint tables are almost identical.
All of the basic formatting options exist, such as cell fills, border manipulation, font modifications, etc. On top of that we now have a set of effects which can be applied to a table in PowerPoint. These effects allow a person to apply a soft shadow to a table, a reflection, or to apply 3D bevels to a selection of cells within the table.
The pinnacle of formatting available to a PowerPoint table is that of table styles. Table styles provide a one-stop-shop to formatting the entire table so that it matches the other aspects of the deck in unique and subtle ways.
A table style basically consists of 7 different types of formatting:
1. Table formatting, including a fill for the entire background
2. Header Row formatting
3. Total Row formatting
4. First Column formatting
5. Last Column formatting
6. Banded Row formatting
7. Banded Column formatting
Table style formatting can be extremely useful and maintains a consistent style across the presentation when used in combination with other themed elements (such as shapes, diagrams, or charts). In the following image I show a single table which has three different table styles applied to it. Each style application only took a single click from the gallery and the entire look and feel of the table changes.
There is a shared set of similar table styles across Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Within PowerPoint there is an extra group of styles referred to as “Best Match for Document”. You can also see this style grouping within the SmartArt Quick Styles. In both Tables, and SmartArt, this group represents style choices which exemplify themed qualities to a much greater extent than other styles in the gallery. Within the realm of table styles, this set includes tables which pull background fills from the theme along with effect properties. This allows the tables to match extremely well with other objects in all the complex and subtle ways that a theme can define. In the following image we see use of a table style out of the “Best Match for Document” section.
This can help to create a tighter cohesion in design across different elements of a presentation. This is also a way to get somewhat advanced effects on a table, such as a glow, which can only be enabled on a table depending upon the theme applied.
Jason Schneekloth - July 20, 2006
Please make possible in PowerPoint 2007 to insert equations into presentations!!!
In regard to equations in PowerPoint, it's not an ideal solution but it's entirely possible to insert an equation in Word, copy it and Paste Special as a Word object into PowerPoint. The equation will show up and be editable through OLE, letting you use the new Equation ribbon editing interface.
It's also possible to insert a Microsoft Equation OLE object directly into the PowerPoint slide. In PowerPoint, click the Insert tab, and choose Object from the Text group. Select Microsoft Equation from the list of objects and click OK. -Ric Bretschneider
I have to say I'm impressed with the work that's gone into PPT tables this version. The table styles are a tremendous help toward making good-looking tables in PPT. Since the tables have been expanded to 75 x 75, maybe you'll hear more about how difficult they are to work with once they drop off the edge of the slide. I had one a couple of weeks ago that was 12 rows. Because some of the rows had lots of text, the table quickly dropped off the bottom of the slide and onto the workspace below. No problem -- figured I'd finish working on the table and then copy/paste and split it over 3 slides. What happened is I got so tired of not being able to move to the end of the table without being jumped to the next slide, that I ended up just dumping it into Word and working on it there. I hope this can get better in future. (I also hope that aligning numbers on a decimal with one click is on the list for future versions.) But I do like the PPT table styles better than Word's. Echo
Workaround for animating a table:
1. Right-click the table, choose Save as Picture
2. Save as EMF (choose EMF from the "save as type dropdown list)
3. Insert|Picture, insert the EMF
4. Ungroup the EMF twice 5. Now regroup the parts you need to animate -- rows, columns, or whatever It's tedious, but it works. Echo
Very nice! :-)
My biggest challenge is to have a table in Powerpoint where in certain cells there are images/pictures. The table never sizes according to the size of the picture, because it is not IN it (like in a word table). ANNOYING!
I am very impressed with the new tables. Unfortunately connectors no longer work on tables (border or cells). And trying to start a 'line' on a table puts the cursor back in the table (or resizes the column). This will surely frustrate people. I was hoping connectors would get better in Office 12 (connect to corners of rectangles/cells, center points, line midpoints, etc..) but I think they might have even gotten a bit worse. Since the line and connector types are now combined, trying to click near the corner of a rectangle…it keeps snapping to the side (or some closer object). I know that was a bit off topic.
Nice, but when paste a table, rename it (using shape.name) and then resize it, its name is changed by PowerPoint (2003) into Group nn. How the heck can I overcome this and be sure the name I gave it is saved??
Is there a way for tables to flow onto multiple slides? I can't figure out how to link tables or even use some other work-around. Pasting the table in pieces does not allow changes to the table after conversion to PowerPoint.
Major flaw is not being able to quickly animate the lines in the tables. After 3 years of use (every day several hours a day) I still hate office 2007. the menu driven 2003 program was far easier to memorize for those of us that use it everyday and had enough functionality.
I have to make my PPT documents 508 compliant. One of the requirements in 508 is for everything to show up in the outline. The way to amke this possible is to use layouts ad work within these boxes. When I choose a table in the layout textbox I don't see it in the outline, what am I missing?
Updating Ryan's comment, the inability to use connectors with tables is a big problem in my presentations. There are lots of times that visually linking a table to an object is powerful, but I can't figure out a way to do that in 2007. Oddly, I have some older presentations where some tables seem to have connector points, but most don't. Thoughts? Suggestions? Is there a way to use Edit Points with a table?
If I have 12 pictures in my photo folder, and I created a 6x6 table, would it be possible to let powerpoint to randomly insert all 12 pictures in my table? Instead of doing it box by box?? thanks
Should be able to insert a picgture into a table cell and have it resize according to the size of the Table/Cell. Having all these picture formating aids may be nice to make pretty slides but sometimes information is lost and these shapes don't seem to be very flexible. Guess I am old style but I could work faster with tables as they were before and didn't have to think about trhying to get rid of all the pre-programmed styles first.